Gay Dad Life

Kid-Friendly Drag Shows? Yes, Please!

My family attended our first drag brunch recently. It was a holiday affair, advertised as a family-friendly event where Santa Claus would make a very jolly and gay appearance. To be honest, it felt a little strange bringing my two and four-year old children into an environment that's usually reserved for cruising and after-midnight merriment. And yes, there was some side-eye from the elder gays, rallying for their noon meet-up after what was undoubtedly an evening of college boy cruising and dollar give-a-ways at the go-go bar.


But damn be the side-eye! Living in a rural area, when I have the opportunity to expose my children to my community, you'd better be sure we'll be there. There were six children in attendance, and the lovely Nina West made it a point to talk with each of them, exuding a sassy kindness we expect from our drag superstars. My daughter sat in her seat, asking for more tickets (apparently what she now calls dollar bills) to hand to the ladies as they walked by lip-syncing to their favorite holiday tunes.

For gay and lesbian parents, it becomes too easy to fall into that typical "gay" agenda – praying the children let you sleep until 7:00 a.m., feeding and dressing them, taking them to pre-school, going to work, picking them up, feeding and bathing them, and then passing out, only to start the whole agenda afresh tomorrow. We become disconnected from our community – especially if your sense of gayness coming of age was wrapped in a Show Tunes Mondays veil of bar identity. Welcoming us into our former gathering spaces, with our children, not only brings a familiar sense of home but allows our children to normalize our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and feel comfort and warmth in a space that isn't a typical learning environment.

There will always be those who say they go out to experience a good time, and a two-year old screaming with a dinosaur, in a space that is usually reserved for Hollister and Axe Body Spray, has no place blocking their server from bringing them a much-needed Bloody Mary. But I would argue, we need those runny noses and 4T dresses now more than ever. Our community is changing. Gay spaces are no longer about finding a safe space, but are now venues that can expand and inspire our growing community. We can marry. We can have children. For the 21-year old coming to the big city for the first time from his family farm, we're showing that your dreams are limitless. You certainly don't have to conform with society and manifest a heteronormative lifestyle, but if you want to raise children and jointly file a tax return with someone, you can do it.

But be sure, we'll only come on those days we're invited. On our once-a-year night away from the children, there is nothing better than throwing back a few drinks, watching music videos of people we've never heard of, and, invariably, talking about our children the entire evening. The invitation, however, now and then, to return with children is much appreciated. And it's not about finding that perfect dress or shirt so they gays don't judge them, but allowing my children to be a part of my community. After all, they may grow up to be straight. And allies with an intimate knowledge of the entire LGTBQ experience are invaluable. Their dedication to what is just and right will always win over those bachelorette parties. And guess what, we've taught them to tip better too.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

This Gay Couple, After Learning an Acquaintance Was Putting Her Baby Up for Adoption, Became First-Time Dads Within Weeks

Tim and Clayton were preparing to become certified as foster parents when they learned, out of the blue, that an acquaintance was pregnant and planning to put her baby up for adoption. Two weeks later, they were dads.

Tim Burri saw Clayton Dobson across the room, in a bar, 6 years ago, and asked him to play a round of pool. Tim says he knows "how cliché that sounds," but it worked. The two Kentucky locals married in June this year, and have their hands full with their beautiful adopted daughter, Kennedy, who turns 1 year old this year on September 12.

While many gay dads-to-be choose their path to fatherhood, adoption picked Tim and Clayton. They had just begun looking into the foster-adopt process when they found out an acquaintance was pregnant and was meeting with a lawyer to put her baby up for adoption. "We went out on a limb," said Tim. "Clayton asked if she would ever consider us to adopt, and she agreed. Within two weeks we had a beautiful newborn baby girl!"

Clayton with baby Kennedy

The besotted new dads named their baby girl Kennedy. "Our lives have changed forever!" shared Clayton.

The dads quickly went from a relatively carefree existence of just the two of them, to spending every minute they have loving and looking out for their little girl. "Before we just hopped in the car and spent an afternoon doing whatever," explained Tim. "Now, we hover over the diaper bag and verbally list off the litany of items we surely over pack to make sure we have planned for every situation, which, in truth, we know there could always be something."

Clayton (left) and Tim (right) with Kennedy

The dads have shared photos with Kennedy's birth mom when she's requested them, usually on special occasions, but unfortunately they have not heard from her in several months. They plan to keep sharing photos when the birth mom requests, and they also want to keep an open and an age appropriate dialogue with Kennedy about where she came from. "We plan on being open and honest about how much we wanted her and her mom loved us and her so much that she wanted us to have her," said Clayton.

After 7 years together, the dads were married on June 16th this year on a beautiful goat farm. Yes, you read that right. "We had a causal cocktail hour in the open air barn, boarded a hay ride to a venue on the property in the woods creekside," explained Clayton. The dads arranged for fishing poles and bait for the kids who attended to be down by the creek so they could fish and have fun after the ceremony. After the ceremony, they all boarded a hayride again for a trip back to the barn where they had a catered dinner, goat-side! "Yes, there were goats in attendance for the kids," said Tim, quickly adding, "Yeah right, more so for me to play with!" Besides the goats, the real guest of honor was Kennedy who got to watch her dads declare their eternal love for one another.

Although there wasn't much waiting time for the fathers after they began their journey to become dads, there was ample waiting time for it become official. The original date for Kennedy's adoption to be finalized had been set for December 2017, but in reality, it took almost a year. Tim believes that much of the hold up can be attributed to their Governor who had "reorganized" the Cabinet, and since then, things took a lot longer to be processed. "We had a fairly new judge with a new staff," explained Tim, "they were struggling with scheduling non-docket items; our attorney had to appear during motion hour to get them to schedule the adoption hearing date."

But finally, on July 9th, 2017, it became official: Clayton, Tim and Kennedy are a forever family of three.

For Kennedy's first birthday they plan on having a unicorn themed birthday party and invite everyone who has been a part of their journey. The dads also plan to have Kennedy's birth date tattooed on the insider of their upper arms.

"We have learned a lot about ourselves as dads," summarized Tim. "I was convinced I had no instincts at all and was going to mess up so badly that her head would inevitably fall off because I held her wrong. How things change and how natural instincts hop into overdrive. I've learned that dang, ya know what? We actually are good at this, we can do this, and we are going to LOVE it."


Gay Dad Life

"A Perfect Moment": Congrats to Gay Men Whose Families Grew This Month!

Congrats to all the gay dads and dads-to-be whose families grew this month from adoptions and births, or have recently announced pregnancies!

Wishing these growing families a lifetime of happiness! Congratulations to these gay men on their recent and expectant births, adoption finalizations and foster-adopt journeys, from all of us here at Gays With Kids!

"Truly a perfect moment," says Doug and Brent on the birth of their youngest son, Shepherd

Congratulations to dads Doug and Brent on the birth of their youngest son, Shepherd!

On June 28, Doug and Brent became dads for the second time through adoption when their son Shepherd was born. Their eldest son Sawyer is so excited to be a big brother and the dads are loving being a family of four.

"We finally felt our family was complete when we met him," shared Doug. "Truly a perfect moment."

We're thrilled for this Atlanta family!

With fatherhood around the corner, there is there is "an infinite amount to look forward to," says Richard.

Congratulations to dads-to-be Steve and Richard on their exciting news!

Steve and Richard are thrilled to announce that they are officially dads-to-be! Their little one, via private adoption, is expected in December 2018.

"Fatherhood has always been a dream for the both of us," shared Steve. "We're most looking forward to 'moments' with our baby. From brand new experiences... the first smile, the first laugh, seeing a flower for the first time, trying foods from other countries to ultimately showing them how to first and foremost offer love and kindness to others, above all else."

"While there is a infinite amount to look forward to," added Richard, "we so excited to wake up each and every day and everything new that comes along with it."

The family of three-to-be live in Urbandale, Iowa.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the courtroom," Joshua says, following the adoption of his daughter, Aria

Congratulations to dads Bryan and Joshua on finalizing the adoption of their daughter, Aria!

Floridian dads Bryan and Joshua are thrilled to have finalized the adoption of the gorgeous daughter, born in February earlier this year.

"After starting this journey one year ago and sitting in that courtroom with our 6-month-old, it really hit us," explained Bryan. "We were holding it strong together until we were answering questions from the attorney to the judge. At that moment, my husband Joshua started crying which made me cry."

"At that point," continued Joshua, "it really hit us how far we've come and there wasn't a dry eye in the courtroom. We couldn't be more proud to be her dads."

Congrats to Sean and Spencer, who recently became dads to twins, via surrogacy!

Congratulations to Sean and Spencer on recently welcoming their twins, Rowan and Clyde, via surrogacy!

Spencer and Sean began planning their surrogacy journey before they were married in September 2016. And on May 26 this year their dream was realized: the husbands became dads when their twins Rowan and Clyde were born.

The new dads are completely smitten and in complete agreement of their favorite thing so far as fathers: Watching their twins discover and experience the world around them for the first time every day.

This family of four live in Maplewood, New Jersey.

"September cannot come soon enough!" say dads-to-be Benjamin and Christopher

Congratulations to dads-to-be Benjamin and Christopher!

Benjamin and Christopher are excited to share the news: a little bean will soon be joining their family to make them dads!

"We are most looking forward to bonding with our little bean; to see him grow and experience the amazing wonders of the world with our friends and family will be priceless," shared Christopher.

"To be able to travel with him on our excursions around this big crazy globe is something we've always talked about and looked forward to," added Benjamin, "September cannot come soon enough!"

We'e excited to follow the journey of this Pennsylvanian family.

"I was surprised by the impact those pen strokes would have," said AJ, after the finalization of his son's adoption

Jeff and AJ are beyond excited to finalize the adoption of son, Hayden!

New Yorkers AJ and Jeff became dads to son Hayden the day he was born, March 21, 2018. Hayden joined his dads via adoption, and on August 1st, it was finalized. They are now a forever family of three. AJ shared with us how the day impacted him.

"I thought the finalization would just be another happy part of Hayden's adoption journey we could tell him about and celebrate through the years. After all he became our son the moment we matched so a signing of papers wasn't going to change that in my eyes. But I was surprised by my naivety the impact those pen strokes would have. It was a moment of pure joy and happiness that will probably forever bring tears of happiness to my eyes when I think about that day."

The thing these dads-to-be are most excited about? "Double the dad jokes!"

Congratulations to dads-to-be Ryan and Steven on the pregnancy news!

Ryan and Steven live in Madison, Wisconsin, and in six months or so, they're going to be dads! What are the dads-to-be most looking forward to?

"Building a bond with our child in the same way we both have with our own parents," shared Ryan. "Watching them grow and experience the world, all while getting to see it through their eyes. Plus, double the dad jokes!"

Although the past 16 months have been an emotional rollercoaster, Ryan and Steven are beyond excited for their new adventure.

Gay Dad Life

After Seven Embryo Transfers, Four Surrogates and Three Egg Donors, Martin and Roger are Finally Dads

This gay couple's surrogacy journey was a long and arduous one, but it's one that resulted in their beautiful son. They wouldn't change a thing.

Going on 17 years together, it seems like a lifetime ago that Martin Aranot-Lopez and Roger Lopez met via chat room in the days of America Online. Recently the Miami husbands, who were married February 5, 2015, became first-time dads after a long and what often seem futile struggle. But all the pain and anguish melted away when they held their son for the first time, two months ago. Here's their story.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

5 Questions Gay Men Should Ask Themselves Before Starting Surrogacy

Here are five questions gay men should make sure they have the answers to before starting a surrogacy journey

Photo credit: Melissa Bissell Photography

Babies are the best! And growing your family through surrogacy is an amazing experience for everyone involved. There is a tremendous amount of planning, a detailed process and a rollercoaster of emotions that go along with it.

Before you begin your surrogacy journey, here are 5 questions you should ask yourself – and have the answers to! – to help ensure the smoothest journey possible.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Gay Dad Opens Up About His Experiences With Conversion Therapy

The California-based gay dad was one of 8 people to be interviewed about his experiences with the disproven practice of conversion therapy for The Cut.

Conversion therapy, the disproven practice of attempting to change an individual's sexual orientation through psychological interventions, has been in the news a lot lately. This past May, Maryland became the 11th state to completely ban the damaging therapy for minors. Some states are even considering bills to further prohibit the practice for adults.

Hollywood is paying attention to the trend, with two major movies, Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, to be released before the end of the year.

Keep reading... Show less
Surrogacy for Gay Men

These Gay Dads Are Helping Spread Awareness of LGBTQ Families in the U.K.

Thanks to their feature in an Audi commercial and a Daily Mail article, bloggers and gay dads Michael and Wes are enjoying some time in the limelight and helping spread awareness of LGBTQ families in the process

Photo credit: Daily Mail

These last few years have been crazy, both highs and lows, for my husband Wes and me. We've been together for 6 years and married for 4 of those this month. We're very lucky to have two beautiful daughters, Talulah who is 2 in October, born using a surrogate, and Katie who is 14 in September, who was from Wes's previous marriage. During this time, we've also enjoyed helping spread awareness of LGBTQ families in the U.K. by sharing our experience with others via our blog, interviews with media outlets, and even a commercial with Audi. This summer, we started our second surrogacy journey again, and are excited to share our experiences with Gays With Kids, both the highs and lows, over the next year or so.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

This Gay Uncle is on a Mission to Provide His Nieces and Nephews With as Much Culture as Possible

Mike Adank isn't a dad (yet!) but that isn't stopping him from introducing his nieces and nephews to all New York City has to offer.

Mike Adank, who lives in New York City, has been a "guncle" for 19 years to Dylan (19), Emma (17), Laura (12), Alex (8), Katie (6), and Lizzie (3). His Instagram account reveals him to be a fun uncle who thinks the world of his nieces and nephews, and someone eager to share with them his life and passions. He's attentive, enthusiastic, and, dare we say, probably the favorite uncle.

Last year for "Gay Uncles Day" he shared the post below on Instagram with his niece and nephew, with a caption that read: "who needs your own kids when you can just borrow your siblings'?!"

As much as Mike loves being an uncle, however, this message was a bit tongue and cheek: he's begun thinking about having his own family one day in the maybe not-so-distant future.

Mike is the manager of VIP guest experiences at Jujamcyn Theaters, a major Broadway landlord and producer. He lives and breathes Broadway, loves adventures and is a proud New Yorker.

Mike takes his status as a "guncle" seriously and has played a large role in his nieces and nephews lives since they were born. Although they live far away in Wisconsin, Mike travels back two or three times a year, and they make the most of their time together: hiking, camping, gossiping and eating. He also makes sure they see the annual summer musical in their hometown, and plans to give each of them a paid for ticket to New York upon their graduation from high school. "I want them to be well rounded and provide them with as much culture as possible," he said.

As a gay man, Mike also feels it's his responsibility to teach them about tolerance and respect. "Or at least demonstrate it and be an example of how successful you can be if you stay true to yourself and follow your dreams." Recently, he was an even prouder uncle when his niece stood up to a teacher who was allowing hate in the classroom.

Mike has been seeing someone whom he meet via Chappy for the past four months, and although everything is going very well, it's still too early to bring up the conversation of kids. But Mike has begun researching regardless as he's still open to being a single dad if he hasn't found someone who shares the same dream.

In terms of a choosing a path, Mike is keeping his options open even though he's very keen to become a foster dad."Fostering is at the top of my list," said Mike. "I love the idea of sharing my love and life with a child that may be experiencing some rough times, or may not have been as fortunate this far in their life. Everyone deserves to find that one person they can count on, look up to, learn from, and feel safe with, [when] they need it most." Ideally Mike would like to foster to adopt, but he'd also be happy just fostering those in need.

Becoming a dad doesn't come without some fear on Mike's part. And those fears are tied up with his sexuality. "I'm a little scared of them not liking me because I'm gay; I don't want them to feel short changed." But on the flip-side of his concerns, Mike knows that his sexuality could also be a real asset, and help him educate his children on the importance of compassion and love.

As Mike gets closer to celebrating an exciting milestone - the big 4-0 - which is still a couple of years away, he's getting more and more excited about fatherhood, but still wants to be young enough to have fun his kids. The goal is in 5 years time to not only be a fabulous guncle, but also a loving and doting dad. We're excited to watch this space!

Mike with his nephew Dylan

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

FOLLOW OUR FAMILIES

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse